The Second September.

I love when I can write on a plane.  With the right playlist humming in my ear buds, it can be one of my favorite places to process, reflect, and pray ya know….  It's less ah- ha moments and more strait up ‘BRAIN DUMPING!’ {Courtesy of The Cultivated Heart. Thank u!}

It's been a while since I've been wheels up so perhaps my in the clouds and over the rainbow processing has been overdue. I'm heading westward--California bound, the southern part I, for a brief season, called home. 

The memory on my phone is at capacity so I open my photo album to see what I can get rid of. I scroll through hundreds of photos(mass deleting 32 year old selfies showcasing newly formed lines and lingering teenage acne), noticing moments and events of life during 2014 and 2015 that I hardly remember and others that are so foreign it genuinely feels like I am viewing them for the first time.  Those times were captured by my camera, but they did not fully become memories. Still there are streams of stills and videos that are seared in my soul because of their significance to my life today.

I recently heard a distinction that I really resonated with:

"Healing is different than growth."

The truth is my father's suicide (and my subsequent job loss) was a catalyst for a growth spurt of sorts, but it takes time and grace for healing to occur. 

Some days I wish I had never shared my thoughts and writings following dad’s death online.  But then again, it was never really a consideration of mine because I had been sharing online for over a decade with my various blogspots and Tumblr accounts. It turns out starting a public diary a decade ago based on absolute naivety and curiosity has provided more than just embarrassment of my youth and ignorance.

As embarrassing as some of my old posts can be—like a series review of my first time at Pinkberry eating tart yogurt topped with Fruity Pebbles, they are also a map that chronicles a treasure hunt of sorts.  My hunt for something more--often hitting dead ends or just taking the long way around.  The way towards a treasure that was (WHO) and is with me all along.  

A God who has guided me, carried me, and let me wander into the desert, but always leading me home to HEALING in Him.

So yes, be encouraged, He truly is a God who is working ALL THINGS TOGETHER FOR GOOD, for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (from Romans 8:28)

In the most radical and life changing two years of my life, God has come straight down to my broken heart and keeps wiping my ugly girl cry tears. 

I’ll be thirty-three on the 26th of this month just a week after the second anniversary of Dad’s death, and his own birthday, the day after mine. 

September 2016 feels different than it did one year ago.

There is less fight and more flow.  It feels more like healing and less like growing pains.

In the days and months following dad’s passing, I wanted so badly to be "fixed.”  The loss was great—my beloved father and the place that was truly a second home for seven years—my job, my coworkers, and our patients--his 30+ year practice… I spent hours desperately searching, seeking, and writing my way healed.  In case you’re wondering, escaping pain or filling voids do not work with food and wine and Tinder and sleep and Netflix.  

But maybe, just maybe, that time was necessary for the woman God is making me to be…you too, sweet friend….

Today, I am also still very vulnerable to basing my healing or growth on factors other than God's transformative unchanging love for His children.  I am not immune to the trappings of projecting vulnerability from behind a computer screen yet keeping my real life moments from getting that same respect.  Accepting my present moment, no matter of the circumstances is not something we just magically 'get.'  Sweet friends, this is a lifelong journey of clinging to God's strength and not relying on our own. Some wounds in our lives, like dads death, will leave scars and others, we can trust, will perfectly seal and settle.

But in the mean time, let's not rely on ourselves but lean into truth we know.  I don't have it figured out. That's not a shocker I am sure if you are still reading this post.   But I am hoping, honestly, that you are vibing with my thoughts. And I think based on the conversations I have had with many of you online and off, I am not the only one. 

There’s a lot of talk these days about living with authenticity and vulnerability.  You can listen to Brene Brown’s viral TED talk or just take it from my man Donald Miller:

 

“I am willing to sound dumb. I am willing to be wrong. I am willing to be passionate about something that isn’t perceived as cool. I am willing to express a theory. I am willing to admit I’m afraid. I’m willing to contradict something I’ve said before. I’m willing to have a knee-jerk reaction, even a wrong one. I’m willing to apologize. I’m perfectly willing to be perfectly human…Grace only sticks to our imperfections. Those who can’t accept their imperfections can’t accept grace either.” (Scary Close)

Know this:  

 You are not your circumstances. But you can actively change them thru Him. 

 You are not your mistakes. But when you know better, you do better (Thanks Ms. Angelou)

 You are not your embarrassments. But you can fully receive grace and forgiveness today. 

 Lord, have mercy on me and let me practice what I preach. 

“When I get honest, I admit I am a bundle of paradoxes. I believe and I doubt, I hope and get discouraged, I love and I hate, I feel bad about feeling good, I feel guilty about not feeling guilty. I am trusting and suspicious. I am honest and I still play games. Aristotle said I am a rational animal; I say I am an angel with an incredible capacity for beer.  To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side I learn who I am and what God's grace means. As Thomas Merton put it, "A saint is not someone who is good but who experiences the goodness of God." (Brennan Manning)

 

And so, that is my prayer and my hope for this new season I have been traveling in. 

I find when I spend my time focusing my attention on the good good goodness of God rather than my own efforts for growth/success/healing/fixed (aka get your shit together living) that the rhythm is not so resistance filled anymore. 

Less fight. More flow.  

My career transition this year has not been without fears. Many moments where I chant dad’s words, “Just breathe through your nose and wiggle your toes!” It’s become a bit of a prayer and mantra for me, one that motivates and affirms. Exhale anxiety and inhale peace.  

 I am grateful for friends who press into me, inspire me, and remind me that God does His best work with beautiful messes like us.  I am grateful for each of you who have entered this space, my little Internet home.

“A good story makes you thankful to be alive because it reminds you that while sometimes painful, life is indeed beautiful and even magical.” (Donald Miller, Scary Close)

And oh how I see and feel the magic today! 

Carry on sweet friends, and until next time, let’s get our fall flow on ;)  

Lovingly,